Posts tagged ‘North America’
Clearwire, the US wireless broadband operator 51% owned by Sprint Nextel, has reported a narrowing of first-quarter losses to USD71.06 million, compared to a pro forma loss of USD76.44 million a year earlier (before Sprint and Clearwire unveiled their USD12 billion partnership to combine their planned nationwide mobile WiMAX networks). Revenue in the three months to the end of March 2009 rose 21% year-on-year to USD62.1 million. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Clearwire provides broadband internet services in at least 50 markets nationwide via fixed wireless networks which utilise a combination of pre-WiMAX and true 802.16e mobile WiMAX technologies. Clearwire, which has so far launched commercial WiMAX in Baltimore and Portland, Oregon, reported that it added 25,000 subscribers in the first quarter, bringing its total base to 500,000 (up 57,000 year-on-year). The firm expects to add 802.16e networks in Atlanta, Las Vegas, Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Honolulu, Philadelphia and Seattle during 2009. The company said yesterday that it still plans to expand its ‘Clear 4G’ WiMAX service to 80 markets covering a potential 120 million customers by the end of 2010 but the plan could be altered depending on the availability of capital.
Also announced yesterday, Clearwire has selected Cisco as its national core infrastructure provider as it expands mobile WiMAX network coverage across the US. Clearwire’s all-IP network will be upgraded and extended under the deal, whilst separately, Cisco is also planning to move into the mobile WiMAX terminal device manufacturing market this year.
AT&T announced that the 1.5 million subscribers it will acquire from Verizon Wireless will be shifted from Verizon’s CDMA network to AT&T’s GSM network within 12 months of the deal’s completion. The assets were previously owned and managed by Alltel, which was acquired by Verizon Wireless earlier this year for $28.1 billion. AT&T, which will pay $2.35 billion for the assets, said it will spend another $400 million on the switchover. The AT&T-Verizon deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2009, AT&T said. Subscribers in the mostly rural regions will be able to receive mobile broadband on AT&T smartphones, including iPhones and BlackBerry Bolds, after the transition is completed, the company indicated in an announcement late Friday. In a smaller deal in the wireless-infrastructure musical chairs exercises between the two largest U.S. wireless carriers, AT&T said it will sell some wireless assets of Centennial Communications to Verizon Wireless.
AT&T has agreed to acquire mobile assets from Verizon Wireless for USD 2.35 billion in cash. AT&T will acquire mobile properties, including licences, network assets and 1.5 million current subscribers in 79 service areas, primarily in rural areas across eighteen states. Verizon Wireless is required to divest these properties as part of the regulatory approvals granted for its purchase of Alltel earlier this year. The states represented are Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming. While the transaction primarily represents former Alltel assets, but it also includes assets from Verizon Wireless and the former Rural Cellular. AT&T expects integration costs for network conversion, amortisation of intangible assets and subscriber migration to result in dilution to EPS of approximately USD 0.06 per share in the first year after closing and to improve thereafter. Network conversion from Verizon’s CDMA network to GSM technology and transition of the operations to AT&T is expected to take no longer than 12 months from the date the transaction closes and to result in an additional planned capital investment of approximately USD 400 million over 2009 and 2010. The transaction is contingent upon regulatory approval and is expected to close in the fourth quarter. AT&T has also agreed to sell certain mobile assets of Centennial Communications to Verizon Wireless for USD 240 million.
Leap Wireless reported a hefty increase in its net new subscribers for the first quarter.However, it still came in behind competing wireless operator MetroPCS. Both companies have benefited from the current economic slowdown as mobile customers defect to their flat-rate, no-contract wireless services instead of sticking with landlines or high-end plans. MetroPCS appears to be doing a bit better than Leap after posting a net profit and higher customer additions in its latest quarter, although its churn rate and ARPU (average revenue per user) come in behind Leap’s. Leap added 493,000 new subscribers while MetroPCS plowed its way ahead with an additional 684,000 customers in the same period, and it expanded into highly-populated markets in New York and Boston and covered an additional 15 million people.Leap launched service in Chicago and Philadelphia toward the end of the first quarter, covering an additional 17 million people and adding 193,300 customers in those new markets.
The US cellular operator Sprint Nextel has been given twelve months to shut down its Nextel iDEN networks in territories served by affiliate operator iPCS. Sprint and iPCS have been arguing for years over the future of the iDEN mobile data networks; iPCS says the systems contravene the affiliate agreement it has with Sprint which says the larger firm cannot compete with iPCS in its exclusive service areas. iPCS has won a number of court decisions over the past two years, but the latest final order by an Illinois Circuit Court means Sprint has no choice but to close down or sell the offending systems. Sprint and iPCS are also arguing over Sprint’s WiMAX wireless broadband networks, which the affiliate claims also breaks their exclusivity agreement.
Regional Canadian telco Bell Aliant has posted 0.9% year-on-year rises in both operating revenues and EBITDA for full-year 2008, to CAD3.28 billion (USD2.64 billion) and CAD1.45 billion, respectively. Annual CAPEX fell by 2.4% to CAD529 million. High speed internet subscribers increased by 10.7% in twelve months, to 762,000 at end-December, with broadband monthly ARPU in the fourth quarter of 2008 reaching CAD36.71, up by 6.7% compared to the same quarter of 2007. Fixed line subscribers stood at 3.09 million at end-2008, down from 3.20 million a year earlier. Bell Aliant also issued guidance for 2009, including operating revenues of between CAD3.18 billion and CAD3.28 billion. Capital expenditures are expected to be between 13.5% and 14.5% of operating turnover in 2009 (down from 16% in 2008), with expansion of broadband services a strategic priority.
T-Mobile USA has reported fourth quarter 2008 net subscriber additions of 621,000, down from 670,000 in the third quarter of 2008 and 951,000 in the fourth quarter of 2007. The slowdown in additions was compounded by an increase in churn to 3.3% in the three months to 31 December 2008, compared to 2.8% in the same period twelve months previously. Post-paid churn was 2.4% in the quarter, up from 1.8% in the final quarter of 2007. For the full year 2008 T-Mobile added over 4.07 million net new customers, including 1.13 million from its February 2008 acquisition of SunCom Wireless, to end the year with 32.8 million subscribers. Contract customers comprised 82% of T-Mobile’s customer base at the end of 2008, compared to 83% in the third quarter of 2008 and fourth quarter of 2007.